Everyone has moles on their skin. Some are born with them, some appear later in life. Most of the time, we ignore them because they do not give problems. Concerns arise when they appear on our face, especially when the moles are big or protruding, because they are unsightly. After all, face is the first thing we are drawn to when we see a person.
What causes moles?
Genetic determines the number of moles a person has. An individual with a large number of moles, i.e. more than 100, is at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
Sun exposure plays an important role in the development of moles. But these moles tend to appear later in life. Therefore it is important to apply sunscreen before getting exposed to sun.
I don’t like the mole on my cheek. Can I have it removed?
Yes*. Moles can be removed either by radiofrequency ablation or surgical excision depending on the character of the mole. Mole removal takes 5 to 10 minutes and can be done on the same visit. It is important to get it assessed by a doctor to get the right diagnosis, and to recommend the best removal technique. Generally, we remove a mole that:
– bothers you
– you find unattractive
– could be a skin cancer
How do I tell a mole from a skin cancer (melanoma)?
Melanoma typically changes in terms of size and colour. You can use the rule of ABCDE to monitor any moles you have.
Asymmetry: A mole that is not symmetrical
Border: A mole that does not have well defined border
Colour: A mole that darkens over a short period of time or shows a combination of different colours
Diameter: A mole larger than ¼ inch in diameter, or growing in size quickly
Elevation: A mole that is raised above the skin with rough surface
If your mole has any of these characters, consult a doctor immediately
Is Mole Removal Painful*?
Pain is minimal. A numbing injection is given before the procedure. With radiofrequency ablation removal, a numbing cream is applied to the treated area before treatment.
Will there be a scar?
Depending on the depth of the mole and the type of removal technique, there may be a faint scar. If the mole has deep roots, we can minimize scarring by removing the mole over 2 to 3 sessions, 6 to 8 weeks apart. If a scar forms, it is usually less obvious than the mole.
What happens after the procedure?
A scab will form over the removal area. Do not worry. It will fall off after 1 to 2 weeks when your new fresh skin grows underneath. Do not remove the scab forcefully. If your mole is very big and stitching is required, you will be asked to return to have the stitches removed in 2 weeks.
Mole removal is safe. Sometimes, there may be mild bleeding during the procedure but it can be stopped easily. You may experience redness or itching over the mole removal area that will go away in a few days. Infection is very rare.